With the NBA Trade Deadline less than a month away, there’s not a ton of time for Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman to make a move to improve the team. As of Jan. 25, the Wine and Golders hold a 29-19 record, which slots them in the No. 5 playoff position in the Eastern Conference. However, the team is only 1.5 games out from the No. 1 seed.
The Cavs have surprised everybody in the NBA with how well they have played more than halfway through the 2021-22 season. They have a great chance at advancing to at least the semifinals in the postseason, but in order to be a championship contender, they must add at least one more piece and secure a Top 3 playoff slot. Only the 1969 Boston Celtics and the 1995 Houston Rockets have won the Larry O’Brien Trophy while not being a Top 3 seed..
Here are five players Altman could make a move for come the Feb. 10 deadline. All of these players have been discussed at great length by me and my co-host Joey Sneider on the All Things CAVS podcast.
Ben Simmons- PG/PF- Sixers
Contract: 4 yrs, $33 million per season
The Cavs have been linked to Simmons multiple times throughout the last year. Simmons seems like an ideal fit for the team. He’s only 25-years-old, he’s 6’11, he can pass, and he can defend. The problem is the lack of consistency with his shot and his contract. For his career, Simmons is a 56% shooter from the field and only a 15% shooter from behind the arc. Those types of numbers, along with the money he commands doesn’t seem like a realistic fit for the Cavs unless they feel he can turn around his Philly demons and be the generational player he seemed destined for when the Sixers selected him No. 1 overall in 2016.
Jaylen Brown- SG- Celtics
Contract: 3 yrs, $26.8 million per season
The Celtics have been one of the most disappointing teams in the Association this year. With a mark of 24-24, they are currently the No. 8 seed in the East. With rumors swirling one of Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown could be on the move, Brown seems to be the most likely to be packaged up, and the Cavs could make it work if they wanted to do so. Altman would have to be willing to part with Lauri Markkanen, either Collin Sexton or Rickie Rubio, and a few first-round draft choices to make it happen, but at only 25, Brown could be THE piece for this Cavs team to grow from playoff contender to title contender if the organization feels J.B. Bickerstaff and crew are ready to make that leap.
Gary Trent Jr. - SG/SF- Raptors
Contract: 3 yrs, $16 million per season
Trent is an ideal target for the Cavs. He can play both the two and the three, and he can score the basketball, averaging 16 points per game this season for the Raptors. The Cavs like players that can play multiple positions, so they can match up with different units on the floor, and Trent’s inexpensive contract makes it, so Altman may only have to give up either Sexton or Rubio, plus a first-round draft pick to seal the deal for the 23-year-old wing.
Buddy Hield - SG- Kings
Contract: 3 yrs, $22.8 million per season
On a very similar contract to Brown’s, Hield would provide the scoring punch the Cavs desperately need. Currently in Sacramento, he’s averaging 16 points per game, and he wouldn’t demand as much in return as Brown. Much like Trent, a combination of Sexton, Rubio and a first-round pick should be sufficient enough for Kings President of Basketball Operations Monte McNair to ship Hield off to Cleveland.
Contract: 2 yrs, $17.5 million per season
Out of all of the names being thrown out at the deadline for the Cavs to acquire, LeVert seems to be the most common, and why not? The 6’6 shooting guard/small forward was born in Columbus, he’s averaging 18 points per game this season, he can start or come off the bench, he has an affordable contract, and it would not take much to secure the 27-year-old. At 17-30 and already without Myles Turner, the Pacers are in a rebuild and are going to look to unload some of their role players for young talent.
As talented as Sexton has shown to be at times in a Cavs uniform, his game doesn’t seem to mesh with Garland. Sexton needs a team that will allow him to score and be ball dominant. Indiana can give him that, and he’s only 23. He’s the type of player Indiana will be looking for in any deal, and LeVert is the type of player the Cavs are looking for. If Altman throws in a first-round draft choice to sweeten the pot, don’t be surprised if LeVert winds up in Wine and Gold colors by the middle of February.
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